Expat@Large

Bloggers, Blogging, Blogged, Buggered

I tend to forget that I am in Singapore sometimes. Yes, ambiguity intended. Sometimes I am in Singapore, and sometimes I forget this.

And so I don’t keep up with many Singaporean blogs. Read zero. At least since Mr Brown moved on to pod-casting, still funny and controversial but not really blogging IMHO. Xenoboy and MollyMeek have essentially disappeared. Then, of course, SPG moved into my apartment (temporarily, for a few years) and I could see what was going on in her life without having to read about it or admire the pictures of it (always a five minute warning sent when I was coming back from the airport.) Mainey quit from Kinokinuya so there was no chance of getting discount books (met her sister last week). VirginPornstar moved to Sydney after losing her virgin status and shut her blog down. Valkyrie’s spider’s all passed on, so I only see her when she comes to our place for D&D games (a while ago now, when Izzy was still here. Lovely lady, nice tattoos.)

However the complete absence of the bloggers I know is not the only reason I haven’t kept up with all local blogs that I know, There is one blogger I refuse to communicate with because of her criminally heartless treatment of one of my close friends. No names, no pack drill, as they say, and she is a lawyer so I’d probably get ripped a new arsehole if I linked to her after that comment.

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I’m not sure that there are any Singapore expat blogs I SHOULD be following, but there is nothing I need to know about bringing up babies, about local food or pet dogs or fashion or living advice for those on their first tour of duty.

I made an observation at the first/only Singapore Bloggers.sg.2005 bloggers meeting back in whenever, 2005 or so, about this, and the status hasn’t changed, at least for the people I know or should know. The taxi driver guy hasn’t published since April last year. Mike is now only talking about his burgeoning writing career (and you really should investigate his work – brilliant). Indy is back blogging under his Platypus moniker, but only about gaming and blowed if I can remember the link.

As a result, my blog is linked to by very few Singaporean expat bloggers. Read none. And it features on few of the lists that come up when you Google ‘Expat Bloggers Singapore’. Read none.

OK, I know I have a dedicated bunch of readers, a humble hi-5 guys and gals, but the list of followers is not expanding and my hits are practically non-existent compared to one or fifteen of the local blogs here.

Mind you my blog is pretty specialised. Specialised in a negative space way, excluded, preterite, I am the dark matter and background radiation hum of Singapore blogging that no-one sees unless they use sophisticated equipment to find it.

In fact my blog is damn useless: A list of complaints about toast and coffee with the occasional sex adventure of Bruce in Orchard Towers or Bangkok. Boring, right? Specialised topics, right?

Sigh.

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These thoughts were stimulated by a Chinese colleague – female – who says, yes, she glances at my blog every now and then but reads XiaXue every day. Every day. XiaXue gets the same hits per day as I have accumulated over the past 4 years, thanks to people like my colleague. I wish I could call her a dumb bitch, but she’s not. She does the same job as I do, so she’s obviously a genius.

But why the fuck do 380,000 people a week got to XiaXue’s blog? I’m not going to link to it because no matter what I say, if she finds out, she is bound to rip me a new arsehole. (I have met her once, briefly, seemed nice, completely ignored me.)

OK, new arsehole coming. It is completely beyond me what the pull is to her vacuous, narcissistic, rude and abusive tripe.

Completely. Beyond. Me.

As is popularity.

E@L

(Bit fretful of further damage to my arsehole it seems.)

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The Death Of Blogging?

Posted in blog stats, blogging, germans, sentence structure by expatatlarge on March 13, 2011

Rumours of my continued existence appear to be somewhat exaggerated…

I suppose I could go into yet another spasm of hand-wringing and tongue-lashing (that’s GOTTA hurt – saw it on a porn site) about how Facebook has destroyed blogging and Twitter has destroyed all mindless morons, I mean CAUSED once relatively normal (slightly above and below middle on the bell-curve) people to become mindless morons (outliers on the low side!), but I won’t (go into a spasm). Or maybe I will. I can never anticipate what I’m going to type when I fire up the create-post page of Blogger. What? You say you’ve noticed this?

That uncertainty may in part be the reason that Facebook and Twitter are doing so well viz-a-viz blogging (at least by me). There’s no chance in one’s posts on these brain-fart sites to ramble-on, no opportunity to let the flow of words take you where they might (may?). You can put in a YouTube or a link and make some terse and pithy comment, but that’s not the same as blogging. Except when it is the same, c.f. most of my recent posts.

Time is short, precious, money, fleeting (fugit). Just gimme the precis, the 240 character pitch, the short version, cut to the chase… There’s too much stuff coming in, not enough time to sort it and analyze it all, or even AT all. And Google doesn’t always help.

I read something the exhaustively prolix William T Vollman said to describe himself, by way of apologizing I guess for his recent 500(!) page book on Noh theatre – “Rarely able to compose a short sentence, let alone a short book…”

Well, it’s become fairly obvious, at least to me, my friends and everyone I know, that I will never write MY apocryphal book, long or short, unless I stop going out partying with said friends, etc… 365 days a week, it seems to my liver and brain (substance not consciousness, except for memory and the incredible and explicable rise of my typo ability lately). So let’s skip that bit about writing novels. As for sentences, maybe I can do them. The ability to put together a paragraph that has variety of sentence lengths, some short, some shorter, some really quite long as they become full of divergences (and asides) as one brain-fart incepts (new verb? No. ­čśŽ ) new brain-farts within it ad ridiculum until that sentence stretches out like those immensely long, colonated and semi-colonated sentences, perhaps in some German text you were forced to read in high-school; in translation of course, as German was not so popular in schools back then (or was it, because anyway I did French – didn’t EVERYONE learn French?): One in which the sentences went on and on, one of those sententious, immensely and unnecessarily detailed, all-in-one, sesquipedalian sentences by, say, Thomas Mann or someone of his national ilk (also guilty is that silly Frenchman, Marcel Proust, who wrote a 3000 page sentence about remembering something we’d all already forgotten by the end), so that the overall deadening and confusing effect of trying to read and hold all the meaning in one’s head of such a monstrous string of allegedly linked words, rather than instilling a love of the Reich’s Kulture and its jolly Volk in your impressionable soul, instead turns you off Germans, German literature (no Goethe! no Schiller! no Schopenhauer! no Nietzsche! no Grass! no Handke! no more!) and Germany all together, without even having to consider the Holocaust (or the great literature that might come out it, like, um, say, Sophie’s Choice) which is of course ironic if you “decide” to marry a half-German fraulein (no longer a jungfrau, oops) as I did, and then it has the verb right at the end, so you get lost, not certain if the sentence – with all its sub-clauses and inter-locutions – actually still makes sense, is something I think I can manage. Hands up if you agree.

I mean, why would anyone NOT want to read this blog? It’s beyond me.

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Ah, no, my blog is not dead – it’s only half way through March, there could life in the old bugger blogger yet!

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E@L

p.s. It was in June last year that I was linked in Izzy’s blog… Who woulda thunk. Sigh.

What We Blog About When We Blog About Blogging

Posted in blogging, writers by expatatlarge on December 30, 2009

The small things, not the things that really matter.

I can’t blog much about the main event around the table this Christmas for example, or its emotional aftermath. What can I say? It was fun at first, then suddenly it flipped to desperately sad and unfortunate, and very important for the family dynamic. It was almost fictional in its drama, but I can say nothing or I risk alienating my family entirely. How? By “blogalising” it I will inevitably distort the facts to suit my truth and that will be “how it was” for all my readers, while each of the family’s truths won’t get a look in. Even these bland comments will cause ripples of consequence. BTW, it’s the same most Christmases. There are always a million things that could be told, but can’t.

So instead, like a dirty old man, I notice a pretty girl’s cleavage and that’s what I blog about. WTF?

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This from my friend Smoot, a Singaporean lawyer –

You know what the problem with a blog is?

It starts off as a place you can write stuff in, stuff that you can’t write down in a diary because someone could find it. Then after a while, it becomes a place that transcends my normal everyday life, where I can talk about stuff that perhaps doesn’t really matter but it matters to me in a relatively insignificant way, but important enough that I want to write about it. It’s also a place to vent about the small stuff, if I need to vent.

But I can’t talk about the big stuff. The stuff that keeps me awake at night. Because that’s conduct unbecoming of a solicitor. Because I am bound by rules of confidentiality and propriety.

So I talk about what matters to me, a little. What bothers me, a little. Stuff that bothers me a lot is what I know to keep to myself. Even when I think so much about it that I can’t sleep properly for weeks, and sometimes, oftentimes, it bleeds into my dreams and I wake up utterly exhausted, and put on my game face for another day.

Perhaps this time next year I will be far more settled in my mind, or maybe I would have lived with my fears long enough to have learned to ignore them.

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And Facebook is even more superficial. Twitter, let’s not even talk about it!

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The title of this post comes from the Raymond Carver book of short stories, not from Murakami’s manual of how to go jogging. I use it because not only because it is one of those iconic book titles that resonate and find application in a thousand variations, but also because my pool-side reading this holiday includes Beginners, the controversial drafts of many of Carver’s stories before his editor Gordon Lish carved (sorry) into them, creating that spare, compelling, “left unsaid” style we all associate with Carver…

How interesting and appropriate.

I wonder what his blog would have been like? Full of small things, with the big things left unsaid like his short stories? But still he (or Lish) might manage to leave the truths of life hanging with an aura of awe all around, like a stepping into a cathedral and looking up close at the pews and the stained-glass windows, the paintings of the station of the cross, of the saints and the statues, but with each of his footsteps echoing in the enormity of it all, maybe…

E@L